So you’ve made it to the interview stage – great! Your resume worked like a dream, your online presence glistened like a diamond and your cover letter sealed the deal. Next step - the interview! Should be a snack, right? After all, you have exactly the right background and experience that they’re looking for.
Well the reality is that there are almost certainly other candidates with backgrounds just as good as yours, so this is no time to be complacent. Time to don your deerstalker and bring out your inner Sherlock! Get started on some detective work, research this opportunity and prepare yourself for who and what you will be facing.
1. Hit the phone
Find out who you will be interviewed by and what the process is going to be. You need to know not just their names but also their positions and whether they are the hiring manager. Is it the first interview in a three stage process or just the single interview?
2. Hit LinkedIn
Now you have the names of the interviewers, look them up on LinkedIn. You should be able to see how long they have been in their jobs, whether they are new to the company or have been promoted into their current role. This might give you an indication of the company’s approach to career development. Check out the professional groups they belong to and update yourself on the key points under discussion there. Also, search their staff on LinkedIn for any long-lost contacts you may have within the company. A quick call to someone you know to check out the company as a place to work will be well worthwhile.
3. Time to Google!
First stop - company website. Here you should be able to find out about the location, size, scale and key staff within the company. You’ll also get a feel for the culture and style of the company. Plus, if it’s a publicly listed company there may be an investor report with a summary of the last year’s performance and an outline of where it’s headed next. Take notes and write up one or two questions to ask at the right time – these will impress.
Second stop – news reports. Google will bring up anything major, but put your detective hat on and find out anything you can about what they have been up to. Take notes and plan to mention it in the interview.
Blogs can be a very useful indicator for the company direction. Check out whose name is against the blog – the CEO or marketing – and what their major themes are. Mentioning at interview that you read their recent blog and have a question will earn you brownie points so long as it’s relevant to your job and department.
Whilst on the subject of chatting with old mates through LinkedIn, perhaps now is the time for a quick look at the company through the eyes of past and current employees. Glassdoor is a perfect way to do this. As is the case with any online review site, you will get both good and bad reviews. But start to worry if they’re all bad and what the main moan is about. Might give you some food for thought and careful questions at interview.
6. Twitter & Facebook
Definitely have a sleuth through these. Although often handled by one or two people in the marketing department they do have company specific content. It’s always interesting to see which companies they follow on both Facebook and Twitter as this gives a sense of who they view as important in their marketplace.
Being a great detective works. You’ll go into the interview with more knowledge than your competition - and that has to work in your favour. Case closed.